1. Overview

The Osaka Sake Awards 2020 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures) are held in accordance with the following aims:

  1. (1) Undertake annual quality examinations of sake made within the Kansai region in the fall, and notify entrants of their evaluation results.
  2. (2) Encourage the advancement, development, and quality improvement of sake making technology by disclosing the results of sake entries to parties involved in sake making.
  3. (3) Contribute to the development of the sake industry.

The Kansai region, which includes Osaka City, Kobe City, and Kyoto City, is well known for its sake consumption, and both Nada (Coastal Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (southern Kyoto City) are Japan's largest sake producing areas. The Kansai region possesses state-of-the-art technology for sake making, and is well known for producing high-quality sakes.

The Kansai region extends from the Sea of Japan, with its colder oceanic climate, to the Pacific Ocean, with its milder climate. Consequently, there are a large number of breweries that produce a wide variety of rich, mellow, and crisp sakes.

2. Sake Entries

(1) Ginjo-shu

Ginjo-shu (“Labeling Standards for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake [National Tax Agency Notice No. 8, 1989]”) produced during the 2019 brewing year (July 2019 to June 2020).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made using rice with a rice-polishing ratio of at least 60%, with no limitation on brewing year.

3. Quality Evaluations

(1) Evaluation dates

September 29 (Tuesday), 30 (Wednesday) and October 2 (Friday), 2020

(2) Evaluation venue

Alcoholic Beverage Evaluation Office, Fourth Floor, Osaka National Government Building No. 3

(3) Evaluation methods

Evaluations were conducted by a panel of 57 judges (individuals under the age of 65 years at the time of the quality assessments with broad knowledge and expertise in the quality assessment of alcoholic beverages, such as staff members of prefectural brewing-related organizations and toji, or master sake brewers).

Ginjo-shu was evaluated at room temperature, and warmed sake was evaluated at approximately 45°C after heating in a vessel containing water at 50-52°C.

(4) Evaluation standards

Overall quality was evaluated for the following qualities of sake deemed to be “good”.

Ginjo-shu: Harmony of aroma and flavor that is distinctive of ginjo-shu and present in a matured and mellow taste.

Warmed sake: Harmony of aroma and flavor that elicits a desire that cannot be sated.

4. Status of Entries

(Unit: entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Total
Shiga12 12 24 12
Kyoto 22 15 37 23
Osaka 6 4 10 6
Hyogo 30 33 63 36
Nara 9 8 17 11
Wakayama 5 5 10 5
Total 84 77 161 93

5. Trends in Sake Quality among Entries

In the 2019 brewing year, the effects of high summer temperatures contributed to a tendency for harder rice with lower solubility, while warmer than normal weather persisted through January and February at the height of the brewing season. Despite occasional cold snaps, the year proved a challenging one for managing the fermentation process. Given these circumstances, sake producers outdid themselves in their application of sake making techniques mastered through rigorous daily training and their observance of appropriate storage methods in the heat of summer. As a result, many of the sakes entered this year were characterized by excellent quality with well-balanced aroma and flavor.

(1) Ginjo-shu

Many of the sakes were of fine quality, combining the velvety mouth-feel characteristic of ginjo-shu with a splendid fruity bouquet.

(2) Warmed sake

The entries were richly varied, with an abundance of distinct characteristics. Some were light and soft on the tongue, some conveyed a robust and solid body, and still others had been aged to achieve a smooth and comfortable finish.

6. Conferment of Prizes

Breweries whose entries received superior scores for quality were awarded the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau Commissioner's “Excellence Prize”.

7. List of “Excellence Prize” Recipient Breweries